Category Archives: Ephemera

Shadow Play – Found On A Friday

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Le Grand Carnival, Shadow Box Diorama Frame by LaBoom, Etsy.

Paper is such a wonderful thing, it can become so many different things in as many different hands. When we are children, we are given paper and crayons or finger-paint, and let loose to make a mess. When we learn to look at books, we can see magical images on the same flat plane of paper. When we begin to read and write, we form letters and numbers with pencils and pens and begin to express ourselves in a non-verbal way that other people can understand. But by far, my favorite use of paper is to alter it from it’s usual one-dimensional form, and to create something entirely different.

3D Pedestal Display – A Day In The Island – by LaBoom, Etsy.

By layering, gluing, scrunching, folding, cutting, painting, and any other number of manipulations, we can turn paper into magic. We see the world in dimensions, though we may not be as aware of it as we are when we sit in a movie theater looking at that flat screen with those goofy 3D glasses on. There is perspective all around us, some things are closer, some things are farther away. When light moves over the land, be it natural or artificial, different things are highlighted. We see shadows, we see new items illuminated that we didn’t notice before, and everything can change in the span of a few hours. Think about your favorite place to be, it looks different based on how much light there is, and where you are in that space.

Handmade 3D Display – Ludella On Stage – by LaBoom, Etsy.

Shadow boxes and dioramas are becoming a lost art, and that is a true shame. Children create their art on a tablet or computer screen, and it never achieves the same quality of a hand made work. If you never play with sizes and shapes of cut out paper arranged closer or farther from your eyes, and with different light sources, you will never fully understand the magic of perspective. No matter what technology comes along, there is nothing that can beat a plain old arts and crafts kit full of scraps of paper, trims and findings, glue, paint, and colour.

3D Shadow Box Frame – The Journey of a Teapot –, With a Light by LaBoom, Etsy.

Today I stumbled upon the most magical of things, a wonderful Shadow Box Diorama created by the very talented hands of Tatiana Kontouli. Tatiana’s Etsy Shop, called LaBoom, contains a bounty of wonderful examples of 3D sculpture, shadow boxes, dioramas, lighted boxes and other magical hand crafted paper creations. Tatiana’s creations vary in price quite a bit, from $12.00 US for smaller shadow boxes, to $55.00 US for her most intricate creations. This makes them affordable for almost anyone to add to a collection of curiosities, or as a perfect gift for that person that is impossible to buy for.

Handmade 3D Frame Display – Miss Nagg’s Kindness Spirit – by LaBoom, Etsy.

Comprised of vintage ephemera, paper cutouts, fabric trims, wire, glitter, cardboard, and illusion, Tatiana’s work is fascinating to look at, and really makes you want to take a closer look inside the box.  From grand multi-figure displays, to simple seeming light boxes, each piece is so very special. You can see the careful combination of elements, the thoughtful placement of text and hidden creatures, and the small touches of magic that make these more than just crafty little items, it makes them something very special indeed.

Handmade Shadow Box Frame – Peachy Wonderland – by LaBoom, Etsy.

A close look at the individual listings I have selected to show you, or any of the dozens of others in the LaBoom shop, will show you different angles and close-up views that will enchant you utterly. Tatiana Kontouli’s “whimsical wonderland” ships all the way from beautiful Antiparos, Cyclades in Greece, one of the most magical and mythical places on the planet. It all just makes the story come together for me, Greece is the seat of a great deal of the historical evolution of sculpture and art.

Light Box Diorama Display – Watch Out Girls – , Light Off by LaBoom, Etsy.
Light Box Diorama Display – Watch Out Girls – , Illuminated by LaBoom, Etsy.

I urge you to take a closer look at LaBoom, and hope you see something so special you simply must bring it’s whimsy and magic into your home. If nothing else, it will have you heading into your old scrap box of bits and bobs, grabbing an old cigar box or cardboard frame, and planning to spend a little time with a glue-stick and some newsprint in the near future. Dioramas should not be on the endangered list of folk arts, too many things have already gone that direction.

3D Shadow Box Frame – Party Dog –  by LaBoom, Etsy.

So hit up the local craft shop or dig into your old stash of findings and create your own shadow box, and include the children in your life in the process, they will be enchanted by the magic that can be found in paper. Don’t let them think of paper as relegated to school work and books alone, as much as I love books – they need to learn to see possibility in all materials, and not just take them for granted. In the time before television, computers, and video games,it is too easy to forget about real creativity.

Shadow Light Box 3D Frame Diorama – Hippolyte – by LaBoom, Etsy.

Where will our future sculptors, crafters, designers and architects be without knowing the magic that can be found in 3D? I am so glad I found Tatiana Kontouli‘s Etsy Shop, LaBoom on a Friday, and now you can be too. Have a great weekend everyone, do something creative with paper and rediscover the magic.

3D Shadow Box Frame – Fox In The Woods – by LaBoom, Etsy.

We Should All Have A Dream – Time Travel Thursdays

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Fine Art Print – “Hidden Gems” Ballerina and Saxophone – 5×7 by Aesha Ash, Swan Dreams – A Shop With A Cause on Etsy.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

In February, the United States and Canada share a common observance, a rare thing between our two countries, but a welcome one particularly in this case. February is Black History Month, and it is a time to not just look to the past to find astonishing heroes and heroines that have changed the world as we know it, but a time to assess where we now sit in relation to our goals for understanding and harmony between all persons. This post will feature images of items available right now on Etsy that are particularly evocative as we look at Black History Month, and remember our shared history, and equally importantly, our shared future, for our children, and for our children’s children.

Rare African American Collectible Cabinet Card – Identified as Kate Smith at Button Empire on Etsy.
Black Americana – Cotton Bale, Memphis – Tupelo, Postmark – Vintage Postcard at Muse of Memorabilia on Etsy.

Black History Month is a time to recognize that we share more with our fellow man than we can possibly imagine, and that the differences are the things that make us unique and special in this world.  It was Edmund Burke who first said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Burke, a British Statesman and Philosopher, may have said it in the 1700s, but it is just as true today as it ever was.  Ignoring our history, weather it be triumphant or traumatic, only serves to allow us to repeat our mistakes in ignorance. When you know better, you do better. This month’s celebrations are not about placing blame on any person or persons, they are about the strength of the human spirit to survive the most bleak of circumstances, and to show us that we are all capable of great acts of bravery when push comes to shove.

Rosa Parks Print 11×17 – Famous Seniors by Garrick, Senioritis on Etsy.
Carter G. Woodson Postage Stamps – Black History Month at Vintage by Cassandra on Etsy.

I am not black, I am not a visible minority, unless you consider being female as a minority, statistically it is not.  I consider myself instead an “Invisible Minority”. I am a Jewish woman, and though I am not orthodox in my observances, I do self identify as a Jew. That means that people who meet me in my professional life often assume I am not Jewish.  I have been present when people I consider to be friends have used derogatory terms, even absent-mindedly, in reference to the Jewish people. I was once discussing a shopping trip with a group of fellow nurses when a male nurse over 15 years my senior, stated, “How did you get a deal like that? Did you Jew them down?”

Wedgwood Anti-Slavery Dish – 1930’s at DeLuca on Etsy.
Vintage 1930’s Mammie Doll – Handmade Toaster Cover at Firegypsy Vintage on Etsy.
Vintage Black Americana Print – Antique “Mammy” and “Sambo” Illustration & Poem at Tuppence Ha’penny on Etsy.

It is a very difficult experience to explain if you have never been a party to it. It is a bit like being slapped in the face by an invisible hand.  It stings, but it goes deeper, it wounds something inside you.  When you realize that this type of thinking is usually something learned early in life from one’s parents or peers, that it takes generations to change the thinking behind it, and that the subsequent slur is often uttered without any conscious intent to wound. I can say that I myself, until that day, had not really examined my own use of certain terms. That single experience was so shocking to me, so life altering, that I cannot help but shudder to imagine the experience of those who face open hostility and violence based on their religion or skin colour, their heritage, sexuality, or race.

Mother To Son by Langston Hughes – Card by Jerise on Etsy.
Boys in White – 8×10 – Black And White Photograph by Nate Ivey, Neurorocker – Crescent City Connection on Etsy.

When I was a child trading toys with my little friends, we used the term “Indian Giver” quite freely, meant as the ultimate put down for those who took back what they had traded.  My mother pointed out to me at a young age that it was a hateful and ignorant thing to say, and I am grateful to her for it. I know that into my early twenties I was using the term “Gyped” to describe a situation where I felt I had been cheated out of money. It was only after realizing that the term actually referred to a Gypsy transaction, and in light of my own experience with a similar term involving my heritage, that I eradicated the term from my vocabulary. It now brings a great deal of shame to my heart to know that I may have offended someone with my thoughtless and ignorant remarks.

1965 Fun With Our Friends – Classic Dick and Jane Primer – Ethnic Edition 1st Grade at Bookmonster on Etsy.
Black History Month // 1970s ABC Flashcard Letters Post Cards at Crab Apple Design on Etsy. Optional Stitching Into A Banner by Melissa Stewart.

I am in no way a student of Black History, I have learned what I know from reading books, watching television documentaries, and through my general education.  I wish I was able to give you a concise history of Black America and Canada, but I cannot claim that expertise.  What I can do is speak from my heart, and hopefully reach yours, and say that as I know better, I try to do better, I can say that it is an ongoing process, and one we can all take part in.  Racism, bigotry, and racial intolerance is one of the last unspoken taboos in our culture. We often are so uncomfortable with our history, we choose to ignore it.  We are more comfortable discussing sexual harassment, violence, and practically anything else in order to prevent us dealing with racial tension.

Vintage Newspaper – Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination – San Francisco Examiner April 5, 1968 at House of Heirlooms on Etsy.
Vintage Martin Luther King Jr. & Bobby Kennedy [on Reverse] Memorial Pendant Necklace at Olive M’Lou DIY on Etsy.
“Our Lives Begin To End” Martin Luther King Jr. Quote – Jot and Go Recycled Notebook/Journal by Ivy Lane Designs on Etsy.
Martin Luther King Jr. Portrait Art Card – 5×7 Blank Card by Mike Tanoory, Tanoory Studios on Etsy.
Vintage Martin Luther King Jr. Spinning Memorial Pendant at Olive M’Lou DIY on Etsy.

I selected the images and items to showcase in this post very carefully, for a variety of reasons. Some are obviously connected to Black History Month, featuring iconic images and persons, while other are less obviously so. As for the photographs, where some might only see the face of a black man or woman, I see the image, but also see the sameness in experience. Who hasn’t taken a picture of a young man about to ship off to war, of a family around a dinner table during the holiday time, or held on to pictures of their ancestors long after the names and connections have gone a bit fuzzy.  That is the beauty of Etsy, you can find the most amazing things, no matter what you are looking for.

Daddies Babies Vintage Photo of an African American Man, His 5 Children, and His Wife at Romance Writer on Etsy
Vintage Photo of a Cute Little African American Girl Wearing A Frilly Dress and Matching Purse at Romance Writer on Etsy
A Night On The Town, Vintage Photo of Three African American Women Having A Drink In A Club at Romance Writer on Etsy
Handsome Sailor Vintage Photo of a Young African American Boy in Naval Uniform at Romance Writer on Etsy

In the United States they call their society “A Great Melting Pot”, in Canada, we call it “Multiculturalism”, in both cases, there are groups that remain marginalized for a variety of reasons, and that is our reality, and our failure.  Use this Black History Month to examine your own experiences, how can you do better for your family and by your neighbor.  I start with me, I can only change me, but I hope that by example I can show my young nieces and nephew that all people have value, no matter their colour, creed, or religion. We need to be a part of our community, and by extension our world, by interacting with others. We, each of us, need to develop an appreciation of our differences and dream of a day when no single person ever feels the sting of racism and ignorance again. Martin Luther King Jr. made the saying “I have a dream” famous, but each and every one of us should all have a dream of our own, and leave a legacy of love behind when we are gone, just like Martin Luther King Jr. did.

Love Art – Black History Month – London Photography, Street Photography [Love, Kiss, Romance] by Ronya, Ronya Galka Photography on Etsy.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
Fine Art Print – 5×7 – Hidden Gems by Aesha Ash, Swan Dreams – A Shop With A Cause on Etsy.

The image that heads this post, and the one above are the work of a very talented photographer named Aesha Ash, whose Etsy Shop “Swan Dreams – A Shop With A Cause” features many such beautiful images. The reason I wanted to leave a little special note at the bottom of this post, is because a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these stunning images goes towards organizations that endeavor to bring the beauty and benefits of ballet to children and youth in under-served communities. One of my nieces is currently studying classical ballet with a teacher who was herself trained in the exacting Russian Schools of Ballet. At first, my niece was having trouble with the strict attention to minor details and the constant correction of her form, but at some point, it clicked with her. She now sees constructive criticism as a means of making her better, of making her the best she can be.  For a nine-year old girl, I have seen the amazing effect that has had on everything else she does in her life, from daily homework to her downhill skiing, and it is a wonderful thing.  I find the work of the group that Aesha‘s work supports, The Swan Dreams Project, to be truly inspiring.  All children need to find the thing that makes life magical and beautiful, and teaches them to reach for the stars. Please follow the link to Aesha’s Etsy Shop to see more and learn how you can support this project.

A Class Full Of Lovely 9 Year Old Ballerinas To Be. [One of Which Happens To Be My Niece].

Note: All Images and Items In The Post Are The Intellectual Property of and Copyright by Their Creators/Owners and The Respective Etsy Shop. Please Follow The Link Under The Image for More Information. No Infringement is Intended.

A Trip Down Grocery Lane – Time Travel Thursdays

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Groceries ART BLOCKS – Set of 21 Ephemera Art BLOCKS 1950’s Magazine Advertisements by Suzanna Scott, Sushipot Parts on Etsy. $145.00 USD.

I was born in the early seventies, that means the big 4-O is coming soon, but even I remember a time before grocery stores became giant tributes to mass consumption of over produced and over packaged goods. Most people dread the “weekly” trip to the grocery store, some people go out less than weekly. Our food has become so laden with preservatives that shopping carts are now immense, ready to hold all those giant boxes and bags that can shelf sit for decades.  Many of my friends and family have turned to shopping on-line, with a standard order delivered right to their doors at great expense, but it is a busy family’s savior in a time pressured world.  We now have so much waste, so much to recycle, that taking out the garbage can be more labor intensive than cooking up dinner.

Vintage 1946 Grocery Shopping Advertisement – Mother Daughter at French Frou Frou Antiques on Etsy. 10″x13″. $12.95 USD.
Vintage 1950 Mother Daughter Grocery Advertisement at French Frou Frou Antiques on Etsy. 10″x13″. $12.95 USD.

So when did it all go so horribly wrong? I am by no means the best at being ‘green’, I am not a vegetarian, and I am not someone who is the most socially aware, but I would have to be blind not to see that we have gone in a direction that is going to be very hard to change.  The old Corner Grocery Store is almost extinct, and that is a shame.

Corner Drug Store Vintage Photo of A Woman Standing In Front of a Drug Store at Romance Writer on Etsy. 3 3/8″x3 3/8″. $2.50 USD.
Girl Buys French Bread & Spaghetti from Retail Market Shop in Snow – Antique Photograph at Snaposaurus on Etsy. 3.5″x2.5″. $4.25 USD.

 In Canada [where I hail from] and the United States, the mega-sized grocery and drug store combo is a dominant feature on the landscape of most suburban shopping centers.  We don’t really even question it when yet another Big-Box shop opens around the corner. However, there was a time when small corner grocers were essential to a neighborhood, and many shopped for fresh goods on a daily basis.

Large Vintage Wire Shopping Basket with Handles – Old Country Store at Antique Beans on Etsy. SOLD.
Vintage Light Blue Grocery Store Shopping Basket at Planet Alissa on Etsy. Estimated 1970-1980. 16″x10 1/2″x9″. $20.00 USD.
Old Vintage Metal Store Display Tag for Fruit Flavor Certs Candy Breath Mints at Leora’s Magic Carpetbag on Etsy. 2 1/4″ Across. $9.99 USD.
Old Vintage Metal Store Display Tag for Dentyne Spearmint Gum at Leora’s Magic Carpetbag on Etsy. 5 3/4″ Across. $12.99 USD.

We drank out of glass bottles, which we returned. Dry goods were sold in paper boxes lined with wax paper, or tins that would be re-used.  Ice cream came in a paper box. Bread, produce, and meats were wrapped in paper and tied with a string. Your home ice-box didn’t hold as much, and things did ‘spoil’ as you would expect fresh food to do.

Vintage Sky Flakes Cracker Tin – Add To A Collection or Use To Store Special Items at Artsy Gemini on Etsy. 7″x4 3/4″. $4.50 USD.
Vintage Spice Tins & Extract Bottle – Lot 2 at UnAbashed DeStash on Etsy. 5 Spice Tins/Boxes, 1 Bottle. 1940s. 50s. 60s. $30.00 USD.
Vintage Spice Tins – Lot 1 at UnAbashed DeStash on Etsy. 7 Spice Tins/Boxes. 1940s. 50s. 60s. $35.00 USD.

So what, you may ask, is my point? Well, sometimes we need to take a look back in time to remember that most families had all their needs met by their corner store, and that the more we package and preserve, the more wasteful we have become.  For many, a look at vintage grocery ads, items, and containers in a wonderful way to remember the days of their childhood. For others, a reminder that for all our “progress”, we have taken a huge backwards leap in taking care of Mother Nature.

Set of 10 Sample Size Grocery Products Rare Collectibles at Antigua on Etsy. Boxes and Talcum Powder Tin Contain Product. Circa 1960s. $100.00 USD.
6 Vintage Jack And Jill Strawberry Gelatin Dessert Boxes at Antionettes Vanilla & Vintage Finds on Etsy. 3.5″x3″x1″. New Old Stock, Never Used. $8.95 USD.
Vintage Chocolate and Food Extracts for Vintage Snacks at Violet’s Steamer Trunk on Etsy. Original Price Tags On Some Items. Range in Size. $11.00 USD.

My family is rather unique in that I come from a ‘Grocery Ancestry’ of sorts. On my father’s side, his parents owned a corner grocery store on St. Clair Avenue in part of Toronto’s most well known early residential areas. He grew up working the store, and as he tells it, bribing the delivery drivers to let him drive their trucks long before he was of age.  On my mother’s side, her father and his partner had a ‘pop’ bottling plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario where they bottled such favorites as Nu-Grape and Sun Crest.  My maternal grandmother also had her time working in a butcher shop as a young woman before she married my grandfather.  You could say my love of the corner grocery store is almost a genetic trait.

Vintage Coca-Cola Bottles, Set of Coke Bottles in Original Carry Carton at Kona Boutique on Etsy. Holiday Style Cardboard Holder Included. $19.99 USD.
Vintage 7up Green Glass Soda Bottle at Antoinette’s Vanilla & Vintage Finds on Etsy. Circa 1950s. 7 oz. Bottle. 8″ Tall. $6.95 USD.
TWO VINTAGE Sun Crest Soda Bottles at Dee’s Attic Treasures on Etsy. 10 oz. & 7 oz. Bottles. Bottles From Atlanta, GA. $18.00 USD.

 Most people, I imagine, have had some connection to a corner store at some point in their family tree, there were just that many small shops serving the community.  Today I want you to remember those days, before the mega-ginormous food outlets, and remember all the families that relied on the small corner stores for their livelihoods and as a main food source for nourishing their families.  The stunning art blocks at the top of the post are the perfect way to honor that heritage in a new and eye-catching way. If you collect old photographs or glass bottles, you can find some of the best on Etsy. Vintage packaging and ephemera remind us of a simpler time and are great photo props or serve as inspirations for decor and artwork projects.  An old soda crate can become a great way to organize your craft room or studio.  This Time Travel Thursday, I ask you to think outside the “Big Box” grocery stores.

Vintage Wood Divided Soda Crate A-Treat Supplies Storage Primitive Industrial Box at Vintage Jane on Etsy. 17 3/4″ Long, 12 1/2″ Wide, 5 1/4″ Tall. $36.00 USD.
Coca-Cola Crate at Cottage On Cactus Lane on Etsy. Vintage Original. 18″ Long, 12″ Wide, 4.5″ Deep. Perfect for Storage, Decor, or Shelf. $25.00 USD.
Vintage Land O’Lakes Wooden Cheese Box at Uknow Uneed Another on Etsy. 11 3/4″ Length, 3 3/4″ Height, 4 1/4″ Wide. Bottom Opening Hinged. $25.00 USD.